A4 MONDAY, OCTOBER 28, 1996 THE SALINA JOURNAL George B. Pyle editorial page editor Opinions expressed on this page are those of the identified writers. To join the conversation, write a letter to the Journal at: P.O. Box 740 Salina, KS 67402 Fax: (913) 827-6363 E-mail: SalJournal ©aol.com Quote of the day "The wrong man is getting chomped." Gloria Nelson Bob Dole's sister, who lives in Russell By SCOTT SEIRER / The Salina Journal Temporary solutions THE ISSUE Growing use of temporary workers THE ARGUMENT Employers and employees benefit B ob Dole sees the growth in temporary employment agencies nationally as an indication that the economy has turned sour. He's wrong about that. Temporary employment agencies have been booming because the economy has been strong, the work force is changing and, especially, because of a new national mantra to cut, cut, cut corporate costs. American businesses, faced as they are with growing demand for goods and services, traditionally would add more workers to their payrolls. But today, the question of whether the workers will be needed in the next quarter, or next year, is a haunting one. The cost of recruiting, interviewing, training and providing employee benefits is high. The cost of laying off workers who prove to be unfit for the job, or are no longer needed, is even higher. So businesses have become innovative, seeking to fill their production demands while protecting the bottom line. One solution they've found is the temporary worker. It's an easy answer. Temporary employment agencies take on much of the busywork. The workers in their fold have been screened and, quite likely, trained. Because of the nature of their employment, they're highly adaptable to new tasks and have the skills to ease themselves into a new work environment. For the employer, one call is all it takes to beef up the work force. And because the jobs are temporary, it's easy for employers to say goodbye to their new workers when needs change. The employer gains flexibility, a key ingredient in milking profits from revenues. The employer also gains an easy way to look at new workers, and pick the best of them for full-time jobs that might become available. We see that happening in Salina. Some of the best blue-collar jobs can be had only by those who have proven themselves, on the job, as temporary employees. The benefits of temporary employment aren't all stacked in favor of the employer. By joining a temporary employment agency, workers gain flexibility in scheduling their work time. They can choose the tasks they'll do. They can learn new job skills and gain valuable work experience.They can size up a variety of jobs, and evaluate a number of employers. The knock on temporary employment, of course, is the lack of employee benefits for the temps. They don't share in retirement programs or health insurance, for instance. They don't have job security, either, although that is rapidly disappearing across the labor spectrum. It's odd that Dole sees the growth of temporary employment as an ill wind; it's his party that advocates giving business the freedom and flexibility it needs to compete globally. Temporary employment agencies and their workers have found a way to make hay out of 'the changing workplace. They are playing the system to their best advantage, just as em- LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL P.O. BOX 740, SALINA, KANSAS 674O2 New Deal sounded good, 60 years ago We have never in our history had a great president. Never, or at least in his lifetime. Consider: the best candidate the world has ever known was disliked by the big- money men. Hated by the religious right Moral Majority. Government thought he was a troublemaker. He was loved only by a small group of women and radicals. Popular? Not in his lifetime.I hear and read about creating jobs. The last time that happened was after 1932 during the Great Depression, when the government created the WPA and the CCC. Both federally funded projects were meant to put men back to work. Sixty years ago the New Deal was a good idea. Today I don't think so. — FRANK CLOUTIER Wakefield U.S. needs to make a couple of right turns Woodrow Wilson told us that there would be times like these when America will be surprised to find herself growing old, a crowded country, strained, perplexed. When she will be obliged to fall back on her conservatism, obliged to pull herself together, adopt a new regiment of life, husband her resources, concentrate her strengths, restrict her vagaries and "trust for leadership her best — not her average members." Well, the time is already belated and it would be tragic beyond measure if we keep electing the average, if not below average members, to lead us. Bill Clinton and Al Gore boast about the great job they claim to be doing and ask us to continue with them the same policies that have piled upon the •I- EV£RV77//N<b 5INKTD THE FUTURE T TORY NOTIONS Weaning the poor from welfare Poor need to work, and be raised above the 'intellectual plantation' of liberalism O bviously, the most important African-American man in public office is a conservative — Justice Clarence Thomas. Less obviously, but surely, the most important African-American woman in public office is a conservative. Meet Eloise * Anderson, director of California's Department of Social Services, a $16 billion agency in this state where one- eighth of all Americans live, where one-third of all births are illegitimate and where until now 12 percent of the population accounted for 27 .percent of the nation's spending on Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Anderson says this about the end of that federal entitlement to welfare: "People say, 'The poor won't know Tough. They'll learn." She GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post what to do!' adds, "When I was young, people did not think the poor were stupid." But, then, when she was young her grandfather was appalled not just by the idea of government provision of health care, but even .by employer provision. That seemed to him redolent of the paternalism practiced by "good" slave owners. It took just a s.troke of a pen - the president's — to transform Anderson from someone supposedly on the far right fringe of the social policy debate into someone who had been prematurely correct about where the T COMMENT debate was going. President Clinton signed Congress' repeal of a 60-year-old federal AFDC entitlement because he had been dragged to where she had been standing for years. She is 54, her short hair is flecked with gray, and her speech is salted with a bracing bluntness, as when she recounts how she got into government 24 years ago. Born on the edge of poverty in Toledo, she became a social worker in Wisconsin and became incensed by the disconnection between the rules cranked out by the state welfare bureaucracy in Madison and the lives led by the people she struggled to help in Milwaukee. So she drove to Madison, parked outside the state welfare office and began bombarding the people who worked there with, questions: What do you do? Ever worked anywhere else? Ever been to Milwaukee? Soon she was working on Gov. Tommy Thompson's welfare reforms, which got her interviewed on public television, where California's Gov. Pete Wilson spotted her. She became a national figure because of 15 minutes on "60 Minutes/' during which Leslie Stahl asked her, "Will you not concede that you have a large number of unemployable people who are oh welfare?" Anderson conceded nothing of the sort, saying there were lots of low-paying jobs that immigrants take but welfare recipients refuse. Stahl: "But we're talking about sweeping floors." Anderson: "That's employable." Sentimental she is not. To The Manhattan Institute's "City Journal" she has said: "If you tell me, 'I'm pregnant, and I've never worked,' I would say ... go talk to your family; go talk to his family. But don't come here, because having a baby is not a crisis. That's a condition and your behavior caused that." Why the explosive growth of illegitimacy? People live up — or down — to expectations; "It was accepted. Back in the 1960s, middle- class whites took the shame out of a lot of stuff." And there also was "the feminist thing — men are dogs," we can live without them. For many young girls, she says, the first sexual relationship is involuntary. When the daughter born to a teen-age mother be 1 comes a teen-ager, she is apt to meet in her home the male friends of her mother's man — men in their late 20s or early 30s. And so illegitimacy is transmitted. Dismantle the welfare system, Anderson says, and young women will think differently about men and getting pregnant. We shall see. "Maybe my time has come and gone," she says. Actually it is just arriving. Given the devolution of federal welfare responsibilities to the states, this is exactly the time for her to be where she is, doing two things. One is putting in place measures to direct welfare recipients to work, thereby underscoring the transitional nature of welfare. The other is exhorting the poor, and particularly the African-American poor to "get off the plantation" — the intellectual plantation of conventional liberalism, and the closed world of dependency she thinks it produces. On her way to the mainstream — make that, while waiting for the mainstream to , come to her — she has felt the full fury of liberal intolerance of deviations by African- Americans. "It is," she muses, "scary getting off the plantation." She has been sustained, she says, by the example of someone who, like her, rose from near poverty and left that plantation, Clarence Thomas. Girls and math: Numbers just aren't there U.S. the $5 trillion, ever-growing mortgage that cannot avoid foreclosure, a national calamity this country could not survive. There is a fork in the road ahead. One branch continues down the road toward the foreclosure; let them know we choose some right turns along the other. —LETA COLLINS Cawker City Dole, Brownback wrong on Medicare On Oct. 19, 1995, Sam Brownback, along with 226 other House Republicans marched to the House floor to pass Newt Gingrich's plan to slash Medicare by $270 million. Why did Brownback do this? To finance the "crown jewel" of the Contract With America — $245 billion in tax breaks benefiting the very wealthy. Brownback was so determined to make those Medicare cuts part of *:he Republican budget that he was willing to shut the government down twice to try to get his way. Democrats believe that Medicare is a sacred trust — not a piggy bank for Gingrich's tax breaks. Since Medicare was created in 1965, it has helped bring the poverty rate among seniors down from 28 percent to only 12 percent in 1993. Yet, Gingrich wanted to see it "wither on the vine," and Bob Dole bragged that he "was there, fighting the fight, one of the 12 voting against Medicare in 1965 — because we knew it wouldn't work". Brownback and Dole should apologize for their attacks on Medicare. On Nov. 5, the people will have their chance to tell Dole and Brownback that they were wrong to try to cut Medicare to help the wealthy with a tax break. — DAN LYKINS Topeka Parents, schools need to make sure girls see that learning math will affect their lives T he best predictor of income 10 years after high school is the number of math courses taken in high school. Many female students, however, thinking that math is too hard, irrelevant or "not in their genes," drop mathematics as soon as they can in high school. That's unfortunate because 75 percent of all university DANIELLE R. majors require college mathe- BERNSTEIN matics. Even social workers, scrips Howard nurses or librarians — ca- Newsservice reers usually thought of as fe- $ male dominated — need math, either while in school or to advance beyond entry-level positions. To even consider fields such as science, engineering, medicine and finance, the most lucrative professional positions, students must do well in math courses and be comfortable with math concepts. My guidance counselor in high school did not encourage me to take math during my junior year because it wasn't required. I did sign up for an Algebra II class, but in the middle of the term I discovered that the college-bound students were taking a combined algebra and trigonometry course in the eleventh grade. Because of the way math courses were sequenced, it took me the rest of my high school career and the help of a dedicated teacher to make up that deficiency so I could start calculus in college. Most high school girls are not so lucky. Derailed from continuing with mathematics at some point in high school, they never get back on track. More women than men graduate from college right now. However, although women are graduating at a high rate, they are not in technical fields so their salaries are less. We need to encourage girls in high school to stick with mathematics. First, parents and teachers have to believe mathematics is important, relevant and that it will affect students' lives. High school course sequences are organized so that girls are asked to make decisions about continuing in math at a very vulnerable time in their adolescence, usually after the second year in high school, where peer acceptance is much too important. Why give them the choice? In most other countries, students take all academic subjects throughout high school. Many interna- DOONESBURY tional women scientists remember they only persevered in mathematics and science in high school because they had no choice. Secondly, let's get rid of these derogatory words such as "geek" or "nerd" when describing people who enjoy math and science, According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, a nerd is a person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific pursuits, but is felt to be socially inept. If we expand this definition to include all those who are single-minded, focused and accomplished in any field, athletes must be considered nerds. Unfortunately, girls are discouraged from concentrating on any serious activity whether sports, music or mathematics..We should provide mentors and role models for our young women. Career awareness .programs for girls give female students a chance to talk to professional women and to use equipment without competing with boys. , Many active female scientists and mathematicians are eager to share their work and enthusiasm for their field. Right now, what better role model than Shannon Lucid, the most experienced astronaut of either sex? But perhaps, more importantly, we have to tell our young women that "you are respoi)- sible for your education and your future." By G.B. TRUDEAU Wl£S CHAR65& AR& WITHOUT MEHT? wrATAU*! H&e. TO t&P USSOKTtTAU. OUT 19 6.0.R TH/NK-TANKI$T THROUGH THE CA5E 8O&POI£HA5f#H 10MAK&. UHATARG 0Ky v CHAR issues H&&?
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